4 Things I Didn’t Know When I Began Blogging

Eight years ago I linked arms with other word-lovers and began blogging. {I shared a snippet of how the journey began in this post.}

Today, however, I’m sharing four unexpected things I’ve learned since I began blogging:

How Long Does It Take to Write a Blog Post?

The time required. Some of you blow me away with the speed in which you create a post. I stand in awe. I can count on one hand how often I’ve whipped up a post in less than an hour…or two. I usually don’t write it all in one sitting and my perfectionistic tendencies tend to hit the draft button multiple times, unfortunately. Suffice it to say, what I thought would be a quick way to express my thoughts has evolved into a love affair with the mingling of life and words. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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There are clever and creative ways to cut prep post time. I wish I’d known this when I began blogging in 2008. Of course, I didn’t know social media whiz Edie Melson back then either. Today there’s a plethora of information waiting to be leveraged, some of which I’ll share at the end of this post. I’m trying to cut my prep time by setting a timer and rebuffing the bully within when it tells me everything must be perfect for it to be meaningful.

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We must embrace the learning curves. My insecurities can sometimes send me scurrying like a squirrel trying to dodge headlights but gradually they’re disappearing, one by one. I’m learning how to operate my new camera, how to manipulate images, and create memes, among other things. All this, while spiffing up my SEO skills, has given me creative whiplash but hugging these curves have helped me progress along this spectacular blogging journey!

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Some of my sweetest friendships are forged through blogging. I knew when I began attending my local writer’s group (Cross N’ Pens) that my circle of friends had eternally shifted upwards but I wasn’t prepared for the friendships developed through blogging. Although miles divide most of us, the distance is shortened when we support and encourage each other through comments, emails, and Facebook private messages. The eternal circle continues to widen, grow, and deepen. And for this one fact alone I will always be grateful for the blogosphere.

What’s one unexpected thing you’ve learned since beginning your blogging journey? Please share in the comment section.

Additional Resources:
Connections, by Edie Melson.
The Write Conversation
Fistbump Media (They switched my blog from Blogger to WordPress and continue as my support – amazing group!)

 

When Spiritual Clutter Hides Beneath the Physical

blogmoreoflessMaybe it’s the sentimental clutter crying for relief in my attic. Or perhaps it’s the upcoming move signaling a fresh start. Point is, Joshua Becker’s latest release, “The More of Less…Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own” left me questioning what spiritual clutter might be discovered beneath my sentiment-driven, what-if-I-need-this-some-day, because-two-of-something-is-always-better-than-one kind of debris.

My desire to tuck away pretty things began at an early age. As an eight-year-old, I hid a true blue Easter egg in my headboard bookshelf. Why? Because I wanted to know it would be there when I felt the need to gaze at beauty for a moment. It didn’t take long to figure out that even beautiful things eventually decay…and reek.

It wasn’t, however, until I was in my thirties purchasing Beanie Babies {Did I really just admit that?} for no apparent reason that I began realizing there was more to those purchases than a fuzzy little feel good. Thankfully, they ended up in the hands of children in an overseas orphanage but unfortunately that was not the “why” behind the purchases years prior.

Those are just two snapshots from my past but even today when I find myself aimlessly wandering up and down the aisles of Target I have to ask myself the “why” question. I don’t want to subconsciously find peace and, dare I say, joy, in all the wrong clearance spaces.

Joshua’s latest release, “The More of Less” is a daily tool in my back pocket. The pages hold clear and concise wisdom, less a beating. The tone is conversational, friendly. It’s an easy but enlightening read, to say the least.

Snippets from The More of Less, some paraphrased:

  • Minimalism: the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.
  • The beauty of minimalism isn’t in what it takes away. The beauty and the full potential of minimalism lie in what it gives.
  • Decluttering will help you clarify your purpose and values.
  • Remember, the goal of minimalism is to unburden our lives so we can accomplish more.
  • In the end, your particular practice of minimalism is going to look different from that of everyone else because your life is different from that of everyone else. You may have a large family, a small family, or no family. You may live on a farm, in a house, or in a studio apartment. You love music, movies, sports, or books. You practice art, or maybe you don’t. Maybe you believe you were put on this earth to host beautiful dinner parties or offer your home as a place of respite and retreat for others. Follow your passions to the best of your ability with the resources you possess. Fulfill your purpose with great focus by removing the distractions keeping you from it. And find a style of minimalism that works for you, one that is not cumbersome but freeing.
  • The more you believe you are not influenced by advertisements, the better they have done their job.
  • Generous people have less desire for more. They find fulfillment, meaning, and value outside of the acquisition of possessions.

{Told you it was good!}

buy-686337_640As I clear out the physical clutter in preparation for the move, a subtle, more insidious kind of clutter lies in wait. I find evidence of mindless shopping. Clothes with fancy tags but little wear. Books that wouldn’t be read anytime soon but bought because I refused to deny the rush of happiness that surged through my veins. Misplaced values and unhealthy dependencies now made visible because I {finally} took the time to look at the “why” behind the purchases.

Peeling back the motives behind our “stuff” allows us to discover not only what we value but also where we find it.

Although you may have enjoyed a large house in the suburbs with the accompanying comforts of life in the past, perhaps now you are thinking more about the value of experiences over possessions. Maybe you are more focused on leaving a legacy than adding to a pile of possessions. {To the Baby Boomers, like me.}

Did a particular excerpt from Joshua’s book resonate with your current circumstances? If so, please share in the comment box. It’s always nice knowing we’re not alone.

Amazon: The More of Less, by Joshua Becker

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25 Things I’m Loving Right Now {From Practical to Posh}

castles-616573_640I state the obvious first — God, my husband, family, and friends will top any “Things I’m Loving” list ever created. The list below is quite frankly, cathartic. Life has been a whirlwind in recent months and I don’t see the winds dying down for awhile. So I do what I do…make lists.

I hope some of these things I’m loving right now will resonate with you and perhaps even prompt you to consider your own surroundings along with the many blessings tucked in between your days.

 

  1. Spacious places. Psalm 18:19 is my go-to verse with this next move. “He brought me out into a spacious place…”
  2. DW Home Hand-Poured Candles. Vanilla Bean, to be specific. I purchased every last one TJ Maxx carried –  to the tune of 35.00+ worth. Yes, they’re that delicious.
  3. Poetry. I love to read it …and write it.
  4. My church. It’s a church that loves well, no matter what.
  5. My great-grandparent’s bible. Its underlined scripture hints to the legacy they would leave behind.
  6. Peppermint Snow. Dee Dee Parker’s Christmas novella that is sure to be a best-seller one day!
  7. Exchange Coffee. My local coffee shop that makes the best lavender lattes, hands down.
  8. Pride & Prejudice, A&E version with Colin Firth. And only this version. Swoon-worthy.
  9. The original scent of Downy softener. It reminds me of my grandmother’s laundry days.
  10. A charm bracelet with each of my grandchildren’s names forged on a separate heart. {They are my heart.}
  11. Vintage VW vans. Because everybody has a little hippie in them!
  12. My worn lot of cookbooks, {I’m afraid this might be as posh as I get. Sad, I know.}
  13. Blogging. Absolutely. Love. It.
  14. Soft breezes on scorching hot days. A reminder that refreshment can rise even on the driest of days.
  15. Owls. Maybe it’s a throwback to the 70’s but I love them.
  16. Tiny houses. {Especially as an Airbnb on our future property!}
  17. Chickens and goats and rabbits, oh my!
  18. Pastures & ponies. These two ‘p’s’ equal a third: Peaceful.
  19. My bible. I’ve had it since 1991. Its pages paper thin and lovingly marked.
  20. White walls, chalkboards, and Mason jars decor. {Does that count for 3?}
  21. Girl gatherings. It’s been awhile since I’ve hosted one of these but once we get moved, preparest thou!
  22. Chenille blankets. Vintage chenille blankets. Soft, warm, and plush comfort. {Especially on snowy days.}
  23. The way my grandchildren smile when we first see them. {Be still my heart.}
  24. Music. The gift of music meanders its way through the soul like nothing else.
  25. Rainy days when I don’t have to be anywhere. Showers falling, coffee in hand, and a good book. {Exhale.}

Do any of the above items trigger your own love-fest? I’d love to read 25 things you love, so if you decide to do the same on your blog please let me know.  Even if you decide not to publicly share your list, I encourage you to make it anyway.

It will do the soul good. Very good.

Did I happen to mention the cupcakes at Exchange Coffee?
Did I happen to mention the cupcakes at Exchange Coffee? Okay, that makes 26.